Inspired programming here. You’d find a decent overlap in any January Venn diagram of regular Donmar audiences and people who wish they were skiing.
There’s a lovely serendipity. The main theatre is running Peggy for You while the little downstairs space has Nell Leyshon’s rather lovely new play imagining Cecil Sharp collecting folk-songs in Somerset.
May as well tell you, I had the ultimate pensioner experience, and it was a blast. A midweek, senior-price matinee for the new touring production of Private Lives.
In the months from May to December 2021, it was, once again, possible to see live shows and review them in London and across the country: for me Birmingham, Sonning, Lowestoft, Ipswich, Norwich, Colchester, Northampton and elsewhere.
I set out to chronicle and celebrate the return of live theatre since May 2021. And this will follow. But when I totted up the 2021 score – 60 theatre nights, 30 being completely new plays and 19 brand-new productions – it seemed to me only decent to pause, look back at the year before.
Lounging in the small hours on her office couch, under a wall of posters for her many clients’ shows – both famous and forgotten – Peggy is fresh back from bailing out a client.
Do you need to be of a generation to remember Morecambe & Wise, to which this play is a loving tribute-cum-amiable-ripoff? Probably not. They are stamped on the national memory, probably genetically.
First things first: this is the most wonderfully evocative, romantic and dramatic bit of set-projection you will see all year.
Just thought I should mention to readers how wonderful this show is. I saw it twice before the pandemic, nipped back to a matinee a week or so back.
James Graham’s mission might seem unfashionable: trawling 20th-century history and public culture, looking not for villains and heroes but for the nuances of human behaviour.
One of the interesting, rewarding quirks in Tom Littler’s small-but-perfectly-formed Tempest is that Tam Williams doubles as Ferdinand, the ultra-virtuous shipwrecked Prince, and as a particularly farouche bare-breasted Caliban.
This is wonderful. Sometimes a simple short performance can shake, rouse, even change you.
Ah, Christmastime! There’s nothing like a buff chap in spike-heeled patent thigh-boots somersaulting in the air to make you feel festive.
Vanya and Sonia are siblings – though she is adopted – and have led dull dutiful lives in a remote country house surrounded by cherry trees and an orchard.
Zadie Smith humbly refers to her first play as more like “homework” than the novelist’s usual dread of a blank page. Chaucer, after all, laid down its tale, framework and attitudes 600 years ago.
How does Irving Berlin’s musical do on a smaller scale? Excellently, not least because the extraordinary percussive mass tap-sessions are even more exciting right up close.
This show, which I had the joy of seeing in a packed auditorium alongside many small thrilled children, knows exactly how to get their attention first thing.
Sometimes a violent rip occurs in the thin veil of materialism, commonsense, morality and law. Children know this.
Universally acknowledged to be a hoot! It had to happen: someone had to notice that in the comfortable upper-middle and aristocratic worlds of Jane Austen’s novel, nothing could happen without the servants.
I had not seen the film, read the book, or been told whodunnit or whether it’s a real ghost or anything. Perfect.